Having a Food Community

Food is a wonderful thing.  In recent years I’ve become much more interested in how our food is cultivated and managed, in food deserts, in preparing delicious and approachable dishes, and so much more.

I am definitely in the infant stages when it comes to understanding the world of food, no more so than in the produce department. In the Milwaukee area we are lucky enough to have access to a local grocery chain, Sendik’s. If it weren’t for them, I’d be at a total food loss.

Before becoming a regular at this local grocer, I did the usual big-chain, generically owned theme park of a store and I shopped the middle aisles more than the outside. You know about shopping the outside, right? It was fine. We live in a wealthy country in a well-off area of the state, so the very worst at those stores was better than what so many people can find in their own neighborhood. And I owe my second high school job to one of those chains. I still turn my dollar bills in the same directions…

But, there’s something really different happening at our local Sendik’s. A great deal of time and attention has been placed on finding men and women of character and training them to high standards. Every time I walk in the store, someone says hi to me by name. I’m constantly in need of top-shelf help, being 5’1” and all, so Nick from the liquor department anticipates my need for help. Just this past week there wasn’t any of the large yogurt containers we go through twice a week, and the dairy guy, Chris, not only went in back to search but opened up 5 pallets until he found the right one for me and then found me in the store.

And then there’s Tiffany who saw that I hadn’t brought enough cash one day and, after I’d set a few things aside, checked out and hit the parking lot, she purchased them for me and run out after me to deliver them. Who does that?!

The food community I’ve read so much about in Karen Le Billon’s book seems to be, in part, in my own backyard!

So aside from the generous, personable character I keep finding in the people at this store, I also depend on them entirely for my produce. Bananas and lettuce and turnips, oh my! I’ve spent a ton of time talking to this guy, Luke, who educates me constantly about what to buy, how to pick the piece, how to store it, and even how to prepare it.

Guess my delight when Sendik’s agreed to let me interview Luke for the blog! We’ve already completed one session which I’ll have up for you in a few days. It includes:

What vegetables and fruit are hot right now (in the Midwest, at least), how to pick them out depending on which day I intend to use them, and how to store them. You’ll get to meet Luke and hear a little more about my utter un-brilliance!

I am very unbrilliant.


p.s. I was not paid or perked by Sendik’s to write this post. Should they decide to offer me a month’s worth of groceries I would not object;)

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